Winter Hike

I finally got in a winter hike!  It’s been a long time since I got out for a good winter hike,  I was getting the itch about 2 weeks ago and sent out an email to my usual suspects.  I wanted a hike that would entice people to come and not scare anyone off, so the ideal winter hike was Mt. Pierce.  A relatively “easy” 4,000 footer with some pretty darn good views of Mt. Washington and the other southern Presidentials.  It’s only 6.5 miles round trip and has a decent return on your effort to views ratio.

Cold start on Crawford Path.

I was joined by Liz, Greg, Erik and a new addition to my winter expeditions…..my nephew Jacob.  I’m glad that my sister-in-law Alison trusts me enough to let me take her eldest son into the wilds of  New Hampshire.  I did promise that he would come back with at least 90% of his digits.

The day started out sunny but windy and cold.  We had a relatively easy start to the day, not hitting the trail until almost 10AM.   It allowed the temps to at least hit 17 degrees by the time we started.  Once we got into the woods the wind was pretty much a non-factor, and as long as we kept moving, the temps were manageable.

Jacob starts out hard and fast

We had decided on the very simple out and back of Crawford Path.  There was the possibility of dropping down to Mizpah Hut if time and conditions allowed it.  In the end that idea was scrapped and we stuck with the original plan.

Time to remove some layers

It did not take long to warm up and drop some layers.  It never ceases to amaze me how cold it can be, but once you get moving, you can get away with a relatively little amount of winter clothing.  The key is to be warm enough, but not sweating.  Once you start sweating you’re doomed if you stop.  Then you get really cold, really fast.

decent amount of snow

Snow storm(s) on Friday and Saturday in the Twin Mountain area dropped between 9-12 inches of new snow.  This was the most snow I had seen since our 18+ inches in Concord back in OCTOBER!  It was the first time all season that it really felt like winter to me.

Jacob goes old school with the backpack
Jacob bundles up

The wind was coming at a pretty good clip.  Once we cleared the trees, it was time to bundle up.  I’m guessing winds were in the 30+ range and if I had to guess, the windchill was definitely into the negative territory.
That clearing off of Jacob’s left shoulder down in the valley is the famous Mt Washington Hotel.

Built in crampons on this guy

The wind was much less brutal just past the crest of Mt Pierce.  The sky had done a really good job of clearing out too.  I was a bit concerned we’d hit the peak and be in clouds.  Luckily though things were very clear.  COLD, but clear.

Greg, Liz, Jacob, Pete, Erik

We spent enough time to get some pictures and have some food at the top, but then it was time to get moving again.  The worst part of the whole hike was the next 3-4 minutes heading directly into the wind and back towards treeline.
The great thing about hiking in the winter and snow is that all the small ups and downs on the trail get evened out and we made exceptionally good time back to the car.  It took about half the time to get down compared to up.

Hopefully I can get in a few more winter hikes this season and another good group like this.

We hit Cascade Coffee in Woodstock, NH on the way home and I have to say that they make a decent cup of coffee.

Thanks for reading

-Pete

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